Ayn Rand And The 2012 Presidential Campaign

Ayn Rand And The 2012 Presidential Campaign

GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan credits author Ayn Rand for inspiring his political career. Rand’s influence on the conservative movement, and why Ryan is trying to distance himself from her philosophy.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate has brought new attention to the philosopher Ayn Rand. Paul Ryan says as a young man he was inspired by Ayn Rand's writing. In her novels “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead,” she described the virtues of private enterprise and the evils of government. Those ideas resonated with Ryan, and in a campaign video from 2009 he said, "Ayn Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism, and this to me is what matters most." Ayn Rand was also an atheist, and Paul Ryan has distanced himself from Rand's religious views. But Ayn Rand remains an intriguing figure in American political thought. Senior fellow Onkar Ghate of the Ayn Rand Institute, Slate political reporter David Weigel and Stanford history professor Jennifer burns join guest host Tom Gjelten to discuss her influence.


Onkar Ghate

senior fellow and vice president of intellectual leadership at the Ayn Rand Institute.

Jennifer Burns

assistant professor of history at Stanford University and author of "Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right."

David Weigel

political reporter for Slate.

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